Saturday, 1 July 2017

The new season kicks off in style

It seems like a long while since I have had a decent day on the Thames. But today did eventually materialise into a decent haul, despite the first few hours being as quiet as the last few weeks. I'd decided to give the O2 and Thames Barrier Park a thorough going over during the low tide period today, particularly with a 1.50pm low tide which is about as ideal as it gets. Starting off at Thames Barrier Park, things were quiet with just a second-summer Yellow-legged Gull and it was the same at the O2 - a single second-summer Yellow-legged Gull (plus the regular Lesser Black-backed Gull ringed in Bristol in 1997).
2nd-summer Yellow-legged Gull O2 Greenwich, London 1st July 2017
So that was that, and it even got to the stage where I phoned up Alan C to ask him how the Bee-eaters were showing and also completely put Dante S off coming to join me as it was so quiet. So it was back on the tube one stop to Canning Town, then two stops down on the DLR back to Thames Barrier Park. And look what I then found: -

juvenile Yellow-legged Gull Thames Barrier Park, London 1st July 2017
This is my equal earliest ever juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, on the same date as I saw my first in 2015. I had kind of been hoping for one this weekend, especially with the flock that hit Dungeness during the week. And so with the first juvenile large gull predictably this species, it is now officially the start of the new gull watching season! Then with the next loaf of bread, in came the first Caspian Gull from last season - X307 - which is a German-ringed bird from the Grabendorfer See colony. Now looking worse for wear plumage wise, although some nice new primaries evident, it has always and still is one of the more marginal birds: -

1st-summer Caspian Gull X307 Thames Barrier Park, London 1st July 2017
There were also a sprinkling of Yellow-legged Gulls about, probably five in total, with all but one being second-summers: -

2nd-summer Yellow-legged Gulls Thames Barrier Park, London 1st July 2017
And then back at Rotherhithe, on the dock next to my flat, there was a nice close encounter with another second-summer Yellow-legged Gull: -
2nd-summer Yellow-legged Gull Greenland Dock, Rotherhithe, London 1st July 2017
Three more weeks of school left, and the summer holidays can't come soon enough.

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